Part of speech:
(Like “eat,” “try,” and “want,” all transitive verbs do something to an object.
You eat a banana, try a game, and want a new phone.
Likewise, you keelhaul something or someone.)
When you keelhaul someone or something, you express a really, really harsh disapproval of that person or thing. The words you use or the extremeness of your disapproval are so harsh, in fact, that it's as if you're taking that victim, tying him up, and dragging him underneath your ship (hauling him beneath the keel or structural underside of the ship).
How to use it:
Talk about keelhauling someone, often for some reason, as in "I was ready to keelhaul him for insulting her like that" or "The media rushed to keelhaul the accused murderer even before the evidence was in." You can use the word seriously or jokingly: "Priests who abuse children deserve to be keelhauled and worse" or "Quit keelhauling me for my cheesy puns; you know you love them."
Also, although it's much less common, you can keelhaul a thing rather than a person: keelhaul an action, keelhaul a behavior, keelhaul an idea, and so on.
You keelhauled your ex on Facebook, then got back together with him? That must be awkward for your friends.
Even after getting keelhauled by reputable science organizations, the quack still marketed his "brain-strengthening" products.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "keelhaul" means when you can explain it without saying "verbally punish" or "harshly rebuke."
Think of a time you or someone you know received a harsh verbal punishment for something that shouldn't have been a big deal, and fill in the blanks: "I can't believe _____ got keelhauled just for _____.”
Example: "I can't believe I got keelhauled just for turning in a paper that wasn't stapled in the upper left corner."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Messages that go through an automated translator into several languages and back into English again often end up sounding funny and garbled-- but still somehow meaningful. We’re having fun with that phenomenon this month as we play our game: Guess the moral from Aesop’s Fables after it has been translated into a few foreign languages and back again by a computer program. Some of the morals may be very familiar to you, others not so much. You don’t need to quote Aesop verbatim but rather just understand the message being conveyed. Try it out each day and see the right answer the following day.
Yesterday’s answer: The translation-babble said, “Destroy your enemies, it is a simple thing, in the same place, and if they match with each other, do not defeat the enemies of the people that is true, but they refused to cooperate.” Aesop said, “The same is true of cities and people: when they are in agreement with one another, they do not allow their enemies to defeat them, but if they refuse to cooperate, it is an easy matter for their enemies to destroy them.”
Try this one today: “And as some to serve, take away the profit of others.”
A Point Well Made:
H. P. Lovecraft: “Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and stumbles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement. ... That is personality and individuality and self-respect -- the calm mastery of a being whose life is its own and not yours.”
1. The opposite of KEELHAUL is
2. Someone ought to be keelhauled for _____.
A. investing so much in a promising start-up company.
B. leaving these matches on the preschool floor.
C. accepting this party invitation and then not showing up.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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